Friday, March 30, 2012

In continuation of my post on living alone....

I have yet to resort to farting songs, but I guess it is all a matter of time....

2012 Smallest Cool House Contest


Apartment Therapy has announced the 2012 Smallest Cool House Contest. I am seriously in love with this contest and I think this year I want to enter (I don't think I would win, but I would love some feedback from everyone!). My place is definitely not show-room ready. I really need to paint, I am lacking in a rug and new couch still, and I can't afford the beautiful furnishings that always grace the winning homes. Apartment Therapy readers also seem to love Mid Century Modern, and it really isn't my look. I am more traditional.

Regardless of my entry, I am so excited to see the other entries that come in! SO inspirational every year, especially in the teeny tiny division (under 400 sq ft). I am looking forward to seeing some great places and stealing their tricks for making a small home seem beautiful and spacious.

Homes can be entered in the contest until April 17th, so who knows what I may accomplish in two weeks? I wasn't planning on painting until the weather got warmer (so I can leave the patio door open for air flow) and I definitely won't have a couch by then either!!

If you are thinking of entering, please follow the instructions on their site : and be sure to let me know so I can check out your place and vote for you! I'm all about sharing the love :)

Here are the categories:
  • TEENY-TINY 400 Square Feet and under
  • TINY 600 Square Feet and under (but over 400 Square Feet)
  • LITTLE 800 Square Feet and under (but over 600 Square Feet)
  • SMALL Under 1,000 Square Feet (but over 800 Square Feet)
  • INTERNATIONAL All non-US entries (under 1,000 Square Feet)
Hmm, I guess I am considered international, which means I am competing with homes that are more than double my size. That makes it a lot trickier to win! I am also pretty sure it is a popularity contest and I just don't have thousands of friends to harass. Regardless, it can't hurt to enter!

If you want to check out past year's entries, please go here:

And good luck to all the entrants!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Where the art at?

So last weekend I switched up the art over my TV and I posted about it and I was all happy. Then I pinned the changes on Pinterest and this happens:
Ya, my OLD look was the one getting repins and likes. Jerks.

I guess I understand why. My old art is super pretty and I have enjoyed it for years now. It was one of the first pieces of art that I bought for my condo. I got them at Winners for like $50 or something. Originally they hung in my long hallway and I was very happy with it- the long art was amazing at filling up that space and the colour scheme fit in perfectly with my red living room accents and turquoise bathroom. Hollah coordination!

Here is the look in the hall:
(Ignore the rest of the ugly decor...I am happy to report I no longer have tv trays. I'm not even sure what that shiny thing is beyond the couch.)

So where is that art now? Surely I didn't throw it away?! OF COURSE NOT!! Who throws away perfectly good Winners art?

My art pieces have broken up their life long friendship and live in different part of the condo now.

Piece 1 is by the couch, in direct view from my table:

Piece 2 is hanging out by the Tv still:
Yay to reusing art! And both of those walls never really had art on them before so it is a good, fun change for my condo.

To anyone who wants to follow me on Pinterest (and repin the CORRECT images and boost my ego), you can follow me here (I think)

If you would like an invite to Pinterest, let me know! Otherwise you need to sign up for a waiting list with them. But that only takes a few days to come through!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Living Alone

So last week Apartment Therapy posted about an article in the NY Times about living alone and asked people whether they were as quirky as the people in the article (when they lived alone). I was curious to see if I was as weird. Here is what the article mentioned in terms of "quirks" that people admitted to when they lived alone:
- eating peanut butter out of the jar while naked at 2:00am
- running in place during TV commercials
- speaking conversational French to yourself while making breakfast
- singing Journey songs in the shower
- removing only the clothes you need from the dryer, thus turning it into a makeshift dresser
- leaving a bra on the kitchen table
- wearing giant bloomers
- not closing the bathroom door
- stay up at all hours
- talking to a cat
- eating a potato for dinner

Here is the article if you wish to read it:

In reading this list I thought two things:
1. Doesnt everyone do this?

Haha! I am guilty of way too much on that list and more. In fact, it was a running joke in the office how I would bring in a potato for lunch because I was too lazy to cook or even make a sandwich. Yup- a solitary potato, which I would stab with a fork and microwave for 5-6 minutes. Heck, that's cooking to me most nights!

I also never close the bathroom door, except when showering. It is super weird when someone comes over and uses the bathroom because I never see the door closed!

And I currently have had towels sitting in my dryer for over a week now because I am too lazy to fold them. I dont have to share laundry- so why bother?

I have lived with roommates before and I guess I must have been semi-normal because they stuck with me for 3 years, but living alone has been an interesting experience too. It's a judgement-free environment where pants are completely optional. Though, it is hard to stick to a diet with no one watching you eat that entire pizza!!

But there are many benefits to living alone while balancing the quirks, such as:
- No compromising with anyone when decorating
- No pants needed (Maybe those who live with a significant other can also follow this one, but its a general roommate no-no)
- Don't need to clean unless I want to (F*** doing the dishes this week!)
- TV shows, movies, music are all up to me
- Sleep in as late as I feel like
- Easy to fake illness to get out of work or other less desirable activities (just joking!)
- No judgment food choices (spaghetti for breakfast? Oh boy!)

So I have to ask, what are your quirky habits when you are alone? And what benefits did you enjoy when living in solitude?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The living room continued

So we left off yesterday with my TV space looking like this:

The new art actually came from the hallway. It looked very lovely up there but I had bigger plans!!

Two years ago I was walking down Queen St and I saw this beautiful poster in a store window of 'the neighbourhoods of Toronto'. I just loved it, but I moved on because it wasn't a cheap store and I didn't really have a place to put it. I thought about it from time to time and decided if I ever saw it again I would get it and damn it- I would make it work!

So in January of this year my friend and I went to the Toronto Interior Design show. We didn't like the show overall (not much inspiration to us, just overpriced appliances and fixtures) but lo and behold- this one stand was SELLING MY POSTER! It was $35 for the poster or $100 for a framed poster. I am cheap, so I bought the straight up poster in white, figuring I could find a frame at Ikea.

But fate worked against me and the poster was 24" x 30", which turned out to be an unusual shape that Ikea didn't carry. So the poster sat in the condo for months while I tried to track down a frame for a reasonable price. Then this weekend my friend Lisa and I went to an art store (which I forgot the name of- I suck) on the Danforth and I found a frame! for $35! That's a $30 savings! Yaaaaay!

So I framed my new poster and hung it up in it's new prominent spot over the TV (where I can stare at it from my table, couch, and bed). Oh ya.


It makes me so happy!!

If you like this poster, I found it online at Ork Posters. It is actually cheaper online (damn them) but with shipping it is a little more comparable so I don't feel ripped off in the end.

Hanging it was very easy. The previous owner hung the red shelf thing nice and level and used a giant pencil line across the wall to make sure he was level. Haha, it is hard to see but it allows me to have a nice level guide when hanging things. I just measured between the two hangers on the back of the frame and stuck my nails in about two inches above my guide line, with the proper distance between them. Then I just hung her on!

Oh ya baby

So that is my new art! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

PS- it looks a big undersized in these photos, but it is really large and a good size for the space in person.

Monday, March 26, 2012


I have made some big changes on this condo over the past two years. A huge change is definitely my "TV zone". When I first moved in, there was a TV wall mount and tv stand/shelf thing installed. The wall mount didn't fit my TV, so I just took it down, but it left large holes in my wall. I clearly did the responsible homeowner thing- I covered it with art.

Here is where we began:

It wasn't horrible per se. The frames did a pro-star job of hiding the giant holes in the wall. And the stand was stylish (and free!) and hid my underwears and PJs, and all my dvds. But I just never really liked it. I worked around it for two years, dealing with the red as if this stand gave some sort of good, risky style to the place. Eventually, however, I decided that it was just too masculine for me. The metal, the straight lines, the bright red- it just didn't vibe with the feminine style I was digging in my inspiration photos.

So I sold the red stand and shelf for a whopping $160 on craigslist and I got me a new TV stand from Ikea that was more to my taste:
Oh ya, much prettier. At some point in between these photos I did remove the door to the top electronics compartment in the red TV stand and moved the cable box in there. And I changed the art a few times. But I can't find any photos of that so you get the shocking before and after!!

Taking down the red shelf was pretty simple- but it left more holes in my wall! I decided it was time to learn to fix these holes. I bought me some hole-filling putty and a spatula thingy (technical terms) and I patched em up and repainted! Thankfully the previous owner left the paint behind that he used. Unfortunately my patch job is pretty terrible. When I repaint the wall once day I plan on resanding it down and fixing it up.

So that is my TV space! Stay tuned tomorrow for the big change that I made again in this space over the weekend!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fixin' the Kitchen

Today we are moving into an unknown zone- The Kitchen!! But we will only look in one tiny corner, which happens to hold the reason that all my friends love me and why I don't love my scale.

Hmmm...a small white cupboard in the corner of the kitchen? What on earth does it hold?


Yes folks, I love to bake and I love to eat the things I bake. I often get bored on a cold day and whip up cupcakes. Or I get a hankering for some cookies and I will make a whole batch of them, which I unfortunately devour the bulk of.

I am lucky enough to have this whole tiny cupboard for my baking stuffs. Trust me, that is a luxury in a studio apartment. I've seen some places with only ONE cupboard for everything in your kitchen. Today I decided to clean this cupboard up to make even more cookies for my sugar-loaded friends.

I already have some organization in there- see the red containers? They hold flour, sugar, and brown sugar. This is super helpful for making the most of the space because these containers stack, are clear so I can see the contents, and don't spill everywhere. I also find the brown sugar doesn't harden as fast when it is in there (tip- a few seconds in the microwave can soften brown sugar). I wish I had room for a icing sugar one, but for now that particular ingredient stays bagged.

My main concern was the bottom shelf. It was a huge mess and it wasn't easy to find things. This is what happens when your condo has no drawers in the kitchen. There is no place for can openers, bottle openers, mixing thingies (that's a technical term), and other small gadgets.

So, Ikea stepped in to help me organize! I bought me some Kasset boxes! And they were on sale! And they were the right size for the small cupboard! Huzzah! I popped open the box, expecting a simple box construction (Ikea and I are well acquainted) and I found this.
Instructions. Involving screws. What the H-E-double hockey sticks?? This box is made of cardboard.

Anyway I got my cheapo, yet complicated, box together (It came with two boxes but I don't have a plan for the other one yet) and I filled it with all the gizmos from that cupboard. I was careful to put the more-often-used stuff at the top of the box for easy access. Once that was complete, my box had a new home!

Yay! Nice and organized now! I have much more room on that shelf, so the hand mixer moved down there, leaving my ingredients more accessible. Score! I also left the top of the box clear so it is easy to get in and out.

Now- who wants some cookies??

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The 10 Minute Tidy

Did anyone else watch The Big Comfy Couch as a child and there was always that scene where the creepy clown girl has to clean her couch area in 10 seconds? But it never actually WAS 10 seconds? Well that's what today's post is about- cleaning up for guests. Except I am realistic and will call this the 10 minute tidy.

So yesterday I was sitting at work, minding my own business, doing work-y things, and I realized that my friend was going to come over that evening and she would see my condo. AND she was bringing someone I had never met and THAT person would be seeing my place too. My place was a huge sty!! I had yoga the night before and therefore didn't clean. There were dishes all over, the front hall looked like a tornado had ripped through, clothes were strewn all over the ottoman, and the bathroom was a little worse for wear because the pipes had been worked out resulting in brownish water the day before that stained a bit. It was bad. I certainly didn't want this to be someone's first impression of my place so I scooted home a bit early and did a 10 minute tidy.

Here are my tips for cleaning in a flash
1. Clean the front hall- 3 minutes
This will be someone's first impression of your place so make sure it is neat and tidy. In a small space the front hall can easily become a disaster. I created a landing pad using a small dresser for mail and my purse, but now is the time to scoop up all that mail and hide it in a drawer somewhere. You can sort it out later. Put coats, shoes and boots away and leave out only the pair you will be needing that evening. That way it looks to your guest that there is tons of room for her shoes and coat, so maybe your place is big enough for guests after all!

2. Hide all clothing- 30 seconds
Just stick it all in the damn hamper and deal with it after they are gone! Yes, technically it is all still clean but there is no time for hanging and folding, you fool!

3. Put all dishes in the dishwasher- 1 minute
Even giant ol pots, just shove them in there! For me this involved emptying the dishwasher first, but that's my own lazy fault for leaving it so long.

4. Clean the stove top and sinks with a quick wipe- 1 minute
I have a flat top stove and it looks gross pretty quickly, despite being dark because I can't wipe it down when it is still hot, so the stuff can sit there for a bit. Usually I will bust out the arm strength and rub er down with special stovetop cleaner, but for now a quick wipe will do!

5. Declutter- 2 minute
Take all items off of tables and counters and things like that shove them in a drawer. Leave out only decorative items. This makes your place look like a damn sexy show room. Of course you dont LIVE like that, but fake it for guests.

6. CLEAN THE BATHROOM- 2 minutes
This one always gets left out, but it is sooooo critical. Wipe down the counters and sink, and actually clean your toilet. It only takes 2 minutes, I swear. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to someone's house and, while their place is neat and tidy, the toilet is soooo dirty and gross. It just makes your whole house look gross. For a quick bathroom clean, I also just close the shower curtain door to block off the view of my 15 body washes and how my tub needs a clean. Last point- close your toilet lid. It just looks cleaner. You never see bathroom shots in magazines with open toilets!!

7. Pick up the big bits on the floors- 30 seconds
Yes, of course you need to vacuum, but we have run out of time! Take a quick look at your floors and quickly scoop up any large pieces of paper, fluff, whatever. Your floors WILL look cleaner.

There you have it folks! A clean looking condo in 10 minutes flat! Ah the joys of only having 400 sq ft to clean :)

Any other tips for a quick clean? What is your crucial cleaning step (like if you could only clean ONE thing)?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My trip to Ikea!

What is more fun than a trip to Ikea- NOTHING! Except maybe a trip to Ikea with a gift card or something, which I did not have. But I did have an sales tax refund cheque from the government, so thank you Canada for paying for my purchases!

So anyway, I needed to go to Ikea to get some frames for a future project and I didn't have plans on Monday so I decided to trek out to the store, since it is only 30 minutes by transit from my work. However, it took me over an hour to get home. In direct sunlight. With all my purchases. hmmm...not sure if I will be trying that one out again soon.

So anyway I got lots of fun things, but I'll only be showing off two today because it is unofficially Patio Week over here at Waffling.

So first up is this sexy little lady:
 I've wanted to put a lantern out there for awhile, because I think they are so pretty! This one was only $10 too, so it was a no-brainer. It is about a foot tall and I enjoy the prominence of it on the table. The candle was stolen from another spot in the condo. It may or may not stay. I am also toying with the idea of painting the lantern a fun colour as I really want the patio to feel very fun and bright.

And here is the big purchase of the day:

A rug for my feetsies! Yay! No more gross concrete while sitting in my chair! I say this was a big expense because it cost a WHOPPING $15 and was the most expensive purchase of the day. No lying- $15. I can't find it on their website, so maybe a fairy dropped it off in my bag? Anyway the description said for indoor use or patio with walls and roof. You know who has a patio with walls and a roof? ME! It is 2x4 ft, so its a good size for the chair, but not practical for anywhere else on the balcony. It is made of woven water hyacinth. I have no idea what that is, but it is comfortable under feet.

You know what else was exciting at Ikea? They were starting to put out their outdoor furniture! Always exciting to see new lines come out and see what is trending in the balcony world (we all know giant yellow muskoka chairs are in).

Anyway, I thought I would source my balcony in case anyone is looking for the items featured:
White bench, Ikea-
Gateleg table with two chairs (one broken), Ikea- no longer available
Lantern, Ikea!-
Rug, Ikea- not online, but is called Nordby
Giant Yellow Chair, Canadian tire-
Outdoor Pillow, West Elm- no longer available

Is anyone else's space overrun with Ikea? Damn their good prices and having exactly what I need in a tiny space!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Oh how I hate Receipts!

Ok this post is a bit of a rant, but dammit, it needs to be said! I HATE RECEIPTS. I hate that my purse is full of tiny bits of crumpled paper. I hate that so many trees die so that 2 weeks later I will find a receipt for facewash and throw it out. Receipts are stupid.

For one, this is 2012! Why do I still need to show a damn piece of paper as proof of purchase? You scan my purchase into a computer, so surely they can create a system where when I come back you rescan the item and find my purchase history? And then you can dole out the cash or look up the card I used to purchase and refund to it. I mean REALLY! The piece of paper doesn't prove anything except that I bought something and now have the object and a piece of paper in my hand. It is so unnecessary in my mind.

I actually think they do this for a reason- less returns. If they made it easier to return things (like if you only needed the sticker still on the product) then people would return things more.  

I also dislike double receipts. Hunny, if you ain't gonna keep the yellow carbon copy, then stop using this type of receipt tape. It just double annoys me.

And long receipts! I bought a t-shirt, so why is this receipt a foot long? Oh, you are having a sweepstakes I should enter? Oh, your store name and address must be 10 lines long at the top? Oh, look at the points I could or did get? Stupid!

And bank receipts are worse! I love that you now have the option to select whether or not you want a receipt, but for deposits it is still automatic. I don't know why. I put in $100 and now you are proving it? Thank you? I think instead that an option should pop up to view or print after depositing. So then you can just confirm if you wish for peace of mind.

Lastly, I hate getting receipts for useless purchases. The other day I got a receipt for a muffin- A MUFFIN! I was thinking to myself "Thank you for this muffin receipt. I will hold onto it so that I may one day have the option to return this muffin". Perishables do not need receipts. End of story.

I also would really like to know what men do with receipts? I always end up with about 100 smooshed in my purse or reusable bags until I clear it out. Do men have muffin receipts in their pockets? This intrigues me.

Wow, that was a long rant. But it needs to be said, people!!!

PS- I went to Ikea yesterday and purchased some fun stuff that I will be sharing this week! stay tuned!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Button Art

Since I am at work in a lack-of-sleep and lack-of-creativity stupor, I will direct you to my awesome friend Lisa's awesome idea on some DIY art on the cheap!!

Feel free to send me other ideas on DIY artwork, Lisa!

This sunshine can only lead to one thing....

More work on the balcony! Today's changes are subtle, but oh so very key if I am going to make a point of using the balcony.

The first thing was fixing my screen door. It has rusted pretty bad and was very difficult to open and close. I often left it open so it wasn't in my way, but then I couldn't use my patio door to let in some fresh air without letting in some fresh bugs (ok, it's a bit early in the season for bugs but in the middle of August I would appreciate some sort of barrier). I honestly thought I needed to replace the whole door because it was rusted so bad at the wheels. My friend Sarah recommended some WD-40 first and let me say, THANK YOU SARAH! A good spray of that stuff and my door is sliding back and forth like soap on a slip'n'slide! WOO!

The next step was bug prevention. I bought my place in the fall and by the time I moved in, it was too cold to use the patio. The following summer I bought all this pretty furniture and I was so excited to spend time out there. But then the worst possible thing happened - giant man-eating spiders. Even though I killed all on sight (I may be responsible for all the rain that summer), I was terrified to go out there. They hid under the furniture, behind cushions, on the ground...*shudder*.

The next summer wasn't so bad but I still didn't go out there that much. I still lived in fear of my own balcony. But this year NO MORE! Because this year I found out about spider spray. Yes, they make a spray specifically for killing and preventing spiders. Hollah! So I set out to my favorite store- Canadian Tire- and picked me up a bottle of Raid Spider Blaster, which claims to keep killing for up to 2 weeks. I picked Raid for two reasons- one being that it was a well known brand, and two because the other brand had a picture of a giant nasty spider on it. For someone afraid of spiders, it is NOT an attractive can. Raid just has a simple, small, black spider on it. It understands me.

So I sprayed it around the edge of the balcony and between my balcony and my neighbours. I found it kind of smells, but being outdoors it cleared up quickly. I hope it holds up well on the concrete.

The next thing I did on the patio was a work on the table. Remember how faded and ugly it was looking after the past two summers of hanging out outside? I decided to try and work with what I got and then if it sucked I would consider painting the top a fun colour so it would end up as a two-tone colour/wood look. So I dug under my sink and I found the protective glaze paint that the table came with. I read the instructions, which included that the bottle expired 2 years ago and not to apply in direct sunlight. Well, screw that! I don't need to follow your stinking directions! Remember, if this sucked I had a plan B. So i went ahead with my staining paint and found it easy going.

Until this happened:
Oops. Ya, that's STAIN on my concrete floor!!! Luckily it cleaned up fairly easily, otherwise I would have to amp up the project to get flooring laid!!!

So here are the before and afters of my patio table:

Yay! It looks much better and this is before it dried (got too dark by the time I finished to photograph it all dry and pretty. I guess that expired stain still had some life left in it. My technique for staining is very simple. I just use a cloth, pour a bit of stain on it, and rub it into the wood. You can also paint it on or use a sponge.

Hopefully now the patio table will hold out for another year and I will have less fading than I did last year.

The final thing I did on the patio was read a book! Yup, I got out there and actually read something in my giant yellow chair. But then I got cold and came in- I might have to wait a few months for a truly hot day (it gets windy up there so it's quite nice on a really hot day).

Did anyone else get out in the sun this weekend? Or just spend St. Patty's day in the bar and then Sunday in with a face in the toilet? Haha. 

I did the former, but thankfully not the latter :) And yes, that is a terrible blackberry picture of me wearing a hat on my hat.

I hope you had a great weekend!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Couch?

So I am in the market for a new couch. I have been thinking about this for a loooong time. See, my couch is super comfy and was a great deal when I bought it, but it is just NOT my style anymore. Don't you hate that? I find that is a big plush monster in my room.

This is my current couch (excuse the poor lighting- I got home late):
See what I mean? The rest of the condo has gone streamlined, but the couch sits there all puffy and smug. WELL GUESS WHAT COUCH, YOU GOING!!

I really want to buy a nice high-quality couch, but I don't want to overspend as it is only a loveseat and not a full couch that will someday fill my future living room in my future home.

I am running into a HUGE problem finding a loveseat though! Every time I fall in love with a couch, it doesn't come in a loveseat, or I don't like the loveseat version. A regular couch can't fit in here- I need something under 70".

Here are three contenders from Structube:

 So they are all very different in style, but definitely have better "lines" than my current one. I've sat on the last one ("The Hampton Couch") and it is soo comfy and beautiful in person. You can really see the quality in it.

And don't get me started on colour!! Should I go white and match all my furniture? Go colourful? I don't think I want the sandy colour I have now, but what about cream? dark grey? turquoise? BAH! Too many choices!!!

Here are the criteria for future couch that I can cement down:
- On legs (seeing space under furniture adds visual space)
- has arms (I like to LEAN when I'm couching)
- not ikea (I have too much ikea)
- under 70", preferably 65"
- clean lines
- comfy, nappable
- good quality
- under $1000

Optional, but nice, ideas:
- tufted style
- fold out bed
- built in storage

I feel like the couch is stopping me from picking a rug and painting the condo. It's such a key piece- it needs to match the style of my place!! I seriously spent less time buying my condo than I have picking out this damn new couch.

My good friend Lisa over at just bought a new couch and I am so jealous. She just went shopping one day, found an awesome couch, haggled the price down, and is now sitting pretty (literally). Sigh, I need to just jump in and whip out my Visa.

Is anyone else as useless at committing to furnishings as me??

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The importance of good filing

So I am a hoarder at heart, which means I cling to all paperwork in case I one day need it. Case in point- I just called my dad to see if I should hold onto hydro bills. He recommended keeping one year so I can prove the costs when I go to sell one day. But THEN he mentioned that he used to hold on to all of them too. So there's where I get it from! (and we are both working hard to purge our homes of useless junk!!).

The reason for that anecdote- I cleaned out my filing cabinet. Where do I keep my filing cabinet in a tiny condo?

Right Here:

"Wait a minute- that's an armoire, isn't it? HOW MANY FILES DO YOU HAVE, CASEY?"

Well, let's take a closer look:
There is a filing cabinet in there!!! Ah, storage techniques of tiny-homed people. You can also peek at all my clothes, nosy!

So, my filing cabinet is amazing. It used to go with my red themed room, but now I'm moving away from red so it moved into the closet. But having filing is KEY no matter how small your space is. It is important to be able to quickly find important documents and to keep your tax info together for easy filing. Shall we have a look inside?
The top shelf holds all important documents. The bottom drawer is for electronic do-hickeys and "office storage" for paper and things like that. However this thing was starting to burst at the seems and I kept misfiling because I didn't have my files organized well. So I tore it all out and worked on making four sections

1. Work Documents
These files hold details on things like hiring documents, notices of pay changes, end of year pay statements, and any other pertinent information.

2. Condo
Here you can find information on mortgages, property taxes, home insurance, purchase documents, etc.

3. Investments
This section is for all RRSP, TFSA, Non-registered stocks, life insurance, etc

4. Other
I use the "other" section for things like contracts, large receipts, warranties, and so forth

So I emptied her out- and I found a LOT of useless paper. Like vet bills (I don't own a pet), cable bills from 2009 (am I going to argue that my internet once cost a dollar less and I have proof?), and the tenant insurance from my old apartment. Yup, I hoard. But now it is all going into the shredder!! I also recommend everyone own a shredder. They take up such little space and it is always important to protect yourself from identity fraud. Plus shredding is fun!!! Well, I find it fun, but I'm weird. I also keep the filing cabinet locked but there is nothing worth stealing in there- no passwords or anything! Just documents proving that I am too broke to own nice things so you might as well rob someone else :)

So that's my little project for the day. I know it's not "fun" but with tax season coming up, its a good time to get organized. I have some more condo-decor fun posts coming up in the next few weeks so stay tuned! I just need to drag my butt to the hardware store. I don't own a car so it's a big outing for me (haha).

Is anyone else doing a little spring cleaning??

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The challenges of a small space

I love my condo- don't get me wrong. I signed on the dotted line on 09/09/09 and I never looked back (ok truthfully, I spent about 2 weeks freaking out, but then i never looked back). There are so many things I love- the location downtown but still close to harbourfront and parks, the relatively private view from my windows, insuite laundry, the full size appliances, the hardwood floors...I could go on and on.

But living in a bachelor apartment is CHALLENGING. There is no sugar coating it. I am super lucky to be able to fit in separate living, dining, and bedroom spaces- but I am seriously lacking in closets! I only have one small front hall closet. That's it. So I have to use an armoire and a small dresser for clothes. For years I stored pajamas and unmentionables in my TV stand. As of today, they have moved to a dresser, but I still store bathing suits and undergarmets under my bed (TMI, perhaps- haha).

I also do not have a lot of cupboard space. There are two full cupboards, one small one, and then one over the microwave and the fridge. So sometimes I store pasta in my fridge and I'm fine with that. It is pretty funny when guests find out my liquor collection lives in the fridge!

And you know something else- I have no cutlery drawers! No one ever says "when hunting for a home, make sure it has cutlery drawers". You don't notice until you go to unpack and go "ooooh fudgesicles". By some stroke of luck, I owned a cutlery set that hangs from a stand (my brother would like to point out that he bought me it, but it was a stroke of luck that he bought me one on a stand!). And the previous owner installed a hanging system for cooking utensils.

So here is what I have learned about small space living:
1. Furniture must do double duty
My dining table folds into seating for 6, but when not entertaining it folds to a 2 seater or down to a side table. It also has drawers for storage. My ottoman/coffee table/bench has storage and provides extra seating when guests come over. My bedside table is made of my boot storage boxes for when I pack them up for the summer.

2. Don't be afraid to use items for other than their intended purpose
Who says you can't put pajamas in your TV stand, or booze in your fridge? Don't be afraid to think outside of the box when you need an item to fit a unique need or space.

3. Be aware of what you truly need.
I constantly purge my closet to save on space. If I haven't worn it in months, or if I have similar items I am more likely to use, I donate. I also spend a long time deciding when to bring a new item into the house. It needs to serve a purpose in my life before I clutter my place with it (and yes, sometimes "being pretty to look at" is a purpose, but try to limit it).

4. Invest in closed storage
I love open storage and I hope to install some open shelving for books and knick knacks, but closed storage hides clutter best and this will help make your space look bigger. When you do have "stuff" out try to make it look very nice and orderly.

5. Keep it light
When I first moved in, the place came with a giant red TV stand with a built in red shelving unit. I kept it for a long time, but eventually I got sick of the red. I invested in white furniture and white bedding and now my place looks very airy and open! I know white isn't for everyone, but I don't eat in bed and I don't have kids running around with markers so it is very easy to keep clean. I like to put in pops of colour in accent pieces to bring personality to the space.

6. Put up art!
By inserting a bit of "you" in a space through art, design, pillows, knick knacks, whatever. When people have beautiful things to look at, they see less of a "tiny condo" and more of a "beautiful room".

There are so many more tips, but I find these are my top recommendations for anyone living in, or thinking of living in, a small space. You would be surprised how few things, and how little space, you need to live comfortably and stylishly!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Patio

Due to the fact that today the weather gods decided to throw us a bone and make it 17 degrees in March, I decided to document the sad state that is my balcony. See, I live in a tiny condo, so the balcony is a wonderful way to expand my living space on nice days- especially since not everyone gets to even have a balcony! But I never seem to use mine. The first summer I moved in I bought lots of pretty furniture and then used it only a handful of times over the past two years.

Here is what I started with:

It was very appealing at first glance- seating for 4 people, lots of space for hanging out with the table folded down. However after one year, one of the chairs broke and the cushions faded to a fugly red.

but worst of all- I NEVER SAT OUT THERE!!

Imagine yourself sitting out there and you will soon realize why- while it was great for entertaining, it was not suitable to kicking back with a book and getting some fresh air. There was no where to curl up, and the cement floor isn't exactly inviting.

So step one: buy a good reading chair
Step two: figure out flooring
Step three: switch up the colour (I'm so over red)
Step four: accessorize!

Here is where I am now:

whomp. whomp.

Ya, it sucks. Despite the awesomeness of my giant yellow chair, the rest of the patio is sucking the life out of it! So on my to-do list is restaining that table (see how weirdly faded it is?), finding a new chair cushion, accessorizing, and figuring out a rug/flooring.

A permanent solution with installing wood floors would be ideal, but I'm not hiding a table saw in my condo and look at how awkward that patio is shaped! So I think it will be a project for next summer when my dad may be off work and looking for things to saw for his darling daughter (insert sweet face).

For now, I would like to find a good outdoor rug. I loooove this one from West Elm:

But alas, it is not available in Canada! And my search for a similar item has turned up nothing. So I'm hoping in a month or two when patio furniture comes out, I will find something equally as lovely.

So that is where my patio ended up as of today. I'll leave you with something much prettier picture to feast your eyes on: my view :)

I hope everyone else is enjoying the sunshine!!

Welcome to my tiny home!

So, I am new to this whole blogging thing- please forgive me while I work out the kinks on setting up this webpage how I like it.

I am here because although I LOVE many home design blogs, there are definitely not enough for tiny spaces and tiny budgets in the city. I live in a 400 sq foot studio in downtown Toronto. And 400 sq ft is a stretch! I spent a day measuring all the awkward corners in here and I only found 350 sq ft; Cementing the idea in my brain that there MUST be a room somewhere with an invisible door. Alas, my magical room-conjuring skills are still in development, so in the meantime I am working hard to design and execute a stylish one room home while dealing with a small budget, my indecisiveness, and the challenges that come with fitting it all in.

So please try not to judge me when I spend 6 months selecting a new couch or when I buy something ELSE in white. I am no professional- just a girl with a eye for bad paint colours, a love of knick knacks, and being terrible at making decisions.
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